Stitch Magic: A Compendium of Techniques for Stitching Fabric Into Exciting New Forms and Fashions is one of the new books on STC Craft's spring list, and it's a wonderland of fabric manipulation--how to fold, twist, pleat, and pucker fabric, then stitch it down into the most mesmerizing creations. The first time I set eyes on the photos from Stitch Magic, I'll admit to being a bit intimidated, but once I started reading through the directions, I was shocked to discover that these techniques are actually quite simple to execute. Some may take a little time to create, but the looks you can acheive with these simple twists and turns are so incredible, the time spent is absolutely worth it.
Stitch Magic is divided into nine sections by technique--cut shapes, folded shapes, pleating, pintucking, quilting, cording, hand-stitch marks, smocking, and special fabrics. Included in each section are directions for the technique, with lots of of ideas for varying it (all shown in photos), plus projects.
The technique that caught my eye first was cording, which is essentially done by laying a piece of cord on fabric, holding it in place, then stitching it down with a wide zigzag. You can swirl the cord to make a meandering trail, hold it down straight and narrow, or twist the cord every few inches to make a loop that hangs freely from the fabric (as shown on this pillowcase.)
Last week I decided to use the cording technique to make a long scarf that I could wrap around my neck several times. Since I'm a knitter, too, I have a ton of stash yarn on hand. So I used some of my leftover yarn scraps for the cording, and I of course couldn't stop at just one color--I had to have blue, green, gold, light brown, and white.
One of my favorite features of the finished scarf is the white zigzag stitches on the reverse side (below). The cording beneath creates ridges on the back, and the white slanted stitches against the yellow provide glints of sheen and a bit of texture.
And here I am wearing the scarf this weekend. While it may not be perfect springtime weather here in New York, I did manage to find some time yesterday to sit in the park and bare my arms in the sunshine. And with the scarf draped several times around my neck, I was nice and cozy, daydreaming of the leaves that will soon be on the trees.
As you can see, the fun of Stitch Magic is imagining what you can create with each technique. The book includes a number of projects to get your creative juices flowing, but it is also intended to inspire you to strike off on your own. You can add a little embellishment (along the hem of a skirt, perhaps?), or embark on a larger endeavor (wouldn't it be lovely to create an entire quilt top using this cording technique?) The choice, of course, is up to you!